Former Rotherham MP MacShane admits expenses fraud

Former Rotherham MP Denis MacShane leaving the Old Bailey last month
Former Rotherham MP Denis MacShane leaving the Old Bailey last month
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Former South Yorkshire MP Denis MacShane could face jail after admitting bogus expenses claims of nearly £13,000.

The 65-year-old, who stood down as Rotherham MP last year, made the admission during a plea and case management hearing at Southwark Crown Court today.

MacShane, of Westmoreland Terrace, London, admitted false accounting.

The charges covered expenses claims of £12,900 for research and translation services between January 6, 2005, and January 15, 2008.

The court heard he used the money to fund trips to the continent.

He was charged in May after a police investigation.

Mr Justice Sweeney told MacShane ‘all sentencing options remain open’.

The case was adjourned for sentencing on December 19 and he was granted bail.

Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of the special crime division at the CPS, said: “The charge is of false accounting, contrary to the Theft Act 1968. Denis MacShane claimed expenses for research and translation services by a company that did not carry out that work.”

Allegations were first investigated by police more than three years ago - but an initial probe was dropped. Due to the principle of parliamentary privilege, detectives were not given access to correspondence with MPs’ watchdog the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, in which MacShane described how signatures on receipts had been faked.

The receipts were from an organisation called the European Policy Institute - which was controlled by MacShane - and the general manager’s signature was not genuine.

In one letter, dated October 2009, MacShane admitted drawing funds from the EPI so he could serve on a book judging panel in Paris.

The police investigation was reopened and MacShane was given a 12-month suspension from Parliament but instead resigned.

MacShane is the second former South Yorkshire Labour MP to admit expenses fraud, after Barnsley Central MP Eric Illsley, jailed for 12 months in 2011 for ‘overclaiming’ £14,500.